Walking Around Sen
At the end of the street of the hostel is the important Matsuyama Shrine, which was empty when I went to visit on my last day at Sen.
Another temple is hidden in the hills just next door. On my way back from these sights, I saw O-Henro walking down the street towards Sen.
Nori’s wonderful family came to visit us Sen while I was there. After an incredible day starting with a tempura and seared bonito lunch, we took a visit to see a Noh show at Matsuyama castle. I didn’t understand much of what happened, but I really enjoyed the music, costumes and masks. I felt much better when Nori told me that she had a hard time following what was happening as well. All in all, it was a great experience, but I’m not sure that I need to see another Noh show.
The next morning, after a homemade Japanese breakfast cooked by Nori, her sister and her mother, we went out for an incredible tea experience. This isn’t your traditional tea. Everyone receives their own teapot and cup. As soon as you put water into the tiny teapot, you pour it into a miniature teacup and drink up. You have to be sure to get every drop of water out of the teapot on each pour or it will make the next batch of tea bitter. Waiting for the drops to fall was the only thing that stopped us from guzzling the delicious tea even more quickly.
After drinking your fill of tea, you actually eat the green tea leaves, seasoned with a soy sauce and vinegar solution. It was actually quite delicious – much like a seaweed salad. And the caffeine meant I didn’t need a nap that day.
This tea shop wasn’t the only great place to eat or drink that Matt and Nori recommended. I can’t even begin to list the great restaurants we visited.
There are so many easy side trips just minutes from Sen. On afternoon, Matt and I visited a sake distillery which is just a couple of blocks away. After sampling a few different local sakes, we left with the perfect bottle for a souvenir. They even have locally made beers. I’m guessing Matt has made a few stops here before Sunset Time…